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Official Review by Andy Mantsch, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Georgia State University is located squarely in the bustling metropolis that is downtown Atlanta. With a student body of 52,000 located in such a well-known hot spot, you'd think athletic facilities would be top of the line, right? At least in terms of baseball, that's not really the case.
GSU Baseball Complex is located 15 minutes away from downtown Atlanta in Decatur, GA. With a tiny capacity of just 1,092 and off-campus location, it feels almost as hidden from view as an NCAA sport can feel.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There is only one concession stand in a small building to the left as you walk into the complex. But for its size, there are some surprising options on the menu.
The standard choices of hot dogs ($2.50), hamburgers ($2.50), cheeseburgers ($3) and sausage ($3.50) are all here, but there are additional options of a fish sandwich ($5) or a grilled chicken sandwich ($4). Side items like french fries, chips, candy, peanuts and sunflower seeds are all available for less than $2.50.
Coke products are sold here for $2.50, as well as bottled water ($2) and coffee/hot chocolate ($2).
For such a tiny venue and concession stand, they do fairly well with options fresh off the grill. That always makes for good burgers and dogs, so eat up!
This is not an elite baseball stadium in any sense of the word. Concrete, chain-link fence, bleachers and cinder block facades sum up everything here.
You walk in from the parking lot through a brick entrance with "GSU" punched out of iron above it. This is one of the nice touches of the park. Once inside, you could easily confuse the rest as a high school field. The only tall structure in front of you will be the two-story press box with the GSU logo on it. Bleachers behind the press box only roll into two sections behind home plate. There are two sets of bleachers that are really just risers from the ground on the first and third base sides. The dugouts are just concrete structures to the left of those (little league baseball style) so you can literally stand along the chain link fence next to the players. The playing surface is simple enough, with a GSU brand behind home plate and a standard scoreboard over the right field wall in front of the trees.
There's not really much to speak of during the game, in terms of added entertainment. There is walk-up music for the players and the PA announcer does the normal calls, but nothing of extra.
It's amazing how such a small venue with a small crowd can still feel crowded. The bleacher sections are small, and most of the fans gravitate towards the ones behind home plate. That means even with a minimum of fans, you'll likely have to step over people to get in and out. I'd recommend just grabbing a spot in right or left field along the chain link fence.
When you jump off the interstate to the area immediately outside the venue, you might be worried for a minute, because the area does not seem particularly nice. The stadium itself is slightly removed from the exit, though, with a large parking lot, so it feels safe enough.
There are some restaurants right down the street from the ballpark, but the neighborhood isn't particularly appealing to make you want to stop in. You'll pass a barbecue place, a Jamaican restaurant and a series of chains. Your best bet is just to make the short drive into Atlanta for the series of excellent dining options there. A couple options are Vortex Bar & Grill on the east side of Atlanta for some delicious burgers and the obvious choice of The Varsity for greasy menu items of southern fame.
The area around the ballpark isn't particularly full of attractions, but with Atlanta a short drive away, there are plenty of local options. Being that you're already on the east/southeast side of Atlanta, take the short drive up to Stone Mountain for some beautiful scenery. You're also just a short drive from Zoo Atlanta. But it's a large city, so you have plenty of options. There's just nothing right around the stadium.
There are a variety of cheap hotel options right around the stadium, but nothing would classify as "nice." Perhaps the hotel with the best rating is the Country Hearth Inn, which is less than a five-minute drive away. But realistically, there are a huge number of options downtown to choose from that are closer to all of the local attractions.
Georgia State baseball fans can be described as a "sparsity" that are all packed into the bleachers behind home plate.
Panthers fans make up a pretty minimal draw at one of the smaller venues in the country, so there's no reason to expect a lot from them.
Mixed in with the smattering of fans, you'll hear some pretty knowledgeable fans using players first names, always an indication of awareness. But there just aren't enough fans here to make any true impact on the game.
As far as Atlanta goes, the GSU Baseball Complex is about as easy to access as it can get. That's not saying it's easy, but for Atlanta, it is.
The stadium is located nearby the Atlanta airport, so getting in and out if you're flying in is relatively easy in a city known for traffic problems. Unfortunately, it's not located off of the MARTA lines, so driving will be your only true option if you're staying downtown. Just always be mindful, because Atlanta is notorious for making a 15-minute drive take over an hour.
The good news is that there is a large paved parking lot just outside the stadium more than suitable to cover the Panthers' meager fan base, so there's no problem here.
The dearth of fans also means entering the gates couldn't be much easier. Aside from a security guard looking on, there's no real bottleneck or slowdown, you just walk right in.
There's not much of a stadium to move around once you get inside. All of the seating will be laid out right in front of you, with an easy walk to either outfield berm if you bring your own chair or want to sit in the grass. Restrooms are far from the nicest, but are suitable for the size of the venue and crowd.
Well, it's free, so it's hard to truly score down here. But you're not getting much for free.
Free parking, free tickets and cheap food generally mean the ROI is good, right? But aside from that, there's not a whole lot of comfort or excitement to see here. So the philosophical question is, is free worth the price if you're getting very little back in terms of venue?
I truly saw nothing that would qualify as an extra here. Even the best features of the stadium, like the GSU sign over the entrance and solid concession stand are pretty standard, by college baseball comparisons. There's really nothing special here. Maybe that's why the tickets are free.
As someone who likes to visit any park for a game, this one is almost completely forgettable. Without being able to walk a campus or get anything uniquely recognizable, there's just no thrill to this park. Unless you happen to be in Atlanta for other reasons and feel like a cheap hot dog and simple baseball experience, you can skip this park.
Member Review by Brian L Jones on Apr 14, 2014
The GSU Baseball Complex has been home to the Georgia State Panthers since 1986. The baseball stadium is one of the smaller stadiums in Division I, as it only holds 1,092 fans. And unlike most college baseball stadiums, the GSU Baseball Complex is not located on campus. In fact, it is located in Decatur, which is 15 minutes away from the campus in downtown Atlanta.
The reason for that is there is not enough room to put a baseball complex in the downtown area. So if fans want to go to a game, they will have to do a little more driving to get to the complex. As a result, watching a game at the GSU Baseball Complex has a different feel than any other college baseball game, and that is not a bad thing.
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